Wendy’s Subway is an arts and literary organization founded in 2013. We support emerging artists and writers in making experimental, urgent work and create alternative modes for learning and thinking in community. Our interdisciplinary program includes free readings, talks, performances, and reading groups, as well as sliding-scale writing workshops and intensives. Our multi-series publishing initiative includes artist’s books, poetic texts, and hybrid-genre works by time-based artists. Our non-circulating library holds a collection of over 3,000 titles, ranging from poetry and fiction to criticism and art books.
After six years in our current location, we have the opportunity to move next door to a larger and brighter space that will better support our programming and community. Through this GoFundMe campaign, we want to share how far we’ve come and what this new space will mean for our future—a future you can help shape today.
We’re a small, collectively-run organization, and the support of our community helps us do what we do. New York City becomes more expensive every day and there's a consequent dearth of DIY, community-oriented, and collectively run spaces. We're honored to have been keep Wendy's Subway running for this long. Even the smallest donation, or sharing this announcement with your friends, family, colleagues, etc. makes a difference! It’s rare for us to make a direct crowdfunding appeal, but we’re so wide-eyed and excited about all the potential of this new space and can’t wait to share it with you all.
Over the past few years, Wendy’s Subway has grown significantly: we’ve transitioned from a volunteer-run group of five to our current staff of ten, all of whom are paid the same, equitable hourly wage. Our staff composition is majority BIPOC, and we prioritize supporting the work of artists, scholars, and activists who come from historically marginalized and underrepresented backgrounds. We practice horizontal decision-making, care deeply about one another, and work collaboratively across all our projects. We’ve worked hard to establish a unique organizational structure based on care, accountability, and friendship, and bring this ethos to all of our work.
With this new space, we will continue to sustain and nurture our mission. We’re asking for your support as we relocate and continue to expand our library, carry out programming and publishing, and more.
Here are some of the things your support can fund:
-----> $15 buys refreshments for one in-person program
-----> $50 covers someone’s workshop fee
-----> $150 pays our utilities and internet bill for one month
-----> $200 covers paper and ink supplies for one (1)in-house publication
-----> $500 pays our utilities and internet bill for three months
-----> $1,000 funds new equipment for in-person and hybrid programs
-----> $2,000 pays for a new Risograph printer
-----> $3,200 pays our rent for one (1) month
-----> $5,000 covers the new space build-out and comfortable furniture to welcome guests
-----> $15,000 contributes greatly to our yearly staff payroll costs
-----> $20,000 covers six (6) months of rent
The new space
Wendy’s Subway was founded in 2013 by a group of friends sharing keys to a loft space in an artists’ studio building on Metropolitan Avenue. As our mission evolved, we moved to our current Bushwick storefront in 2016. With this move, we opened the library to the public five days/week and launched a regular program of poetry readings, residencies for publishers, writing workshops, and more. Now, as we continue to grow, we have a special opportunity to move next door (and keep the same address of 379 Bushwick Avenue!) to a significantly larger space that will meet our needs for greater overall capacity, especially for our programming, library, and distribution. With more windows, natural light, and a small backyard, the new Wendy’s Subway will be a place to gather, organize, and dream.
Below are some more of the ways this new space will serve us:
Our programming, which includes free events and sliding scale workshops and reading groups, is rooted in an exploration of reading, writing, and thinking in community. We deeply believe in the political dimensions of these activities and strive to center conversations about justice, anti-capitalism, self-knowledge, abolition, accountability, and critique. Over the years, the shape and scope of our programs have evolved and shifted. In addition to hosting over 40 readings, writing workshops, a residency program, and reading groups throughout the year, we have also been experimenting with new programming formats, including hybrid Zoom and in-person events to reach an audience and community beyond NYC.
With our new space, we’ll:
- Host more participants, as programs often reached capacity too quickly in our old space
- Create a more suitable and comfortable gathering space for programs, including an updated setup for screenings
- Continue to think expansively about hybrid programming that can accommodate as many people as possible as we continue to navigate the ongoing pandemic
- Offer more resources and space to artists-in-residence to research, experiment, and realize public-facing projects
Our robust publishing program of approximately ten titles per year supports emerging artists and writers making hybrid-genre work, often at the intersections of art, performance, and poetry. We print several books in-house and currently manage the domestic distribution of all of our titles. Our in-house distribution model, while exciting, requires a great deal of space—with boxes of books and shipping supplies quickly piling up. Moving to a larger location will allow us to create a dedicated printing studio and an area for book distribution and the storage of our titles, which will ultimately help us reach more readers and better support our authors.
Our library collection of over 5,000 titles specializes in small press and independently published art books, theory and criticism, books by emerging writers, poetry chapbooks, and zines. We count a number of special collections, including the personal library of NYU Gallatin’s founding faculty member, Laurin Raiken, the studio library of Argentinian video artist Jaime Davidovich, and titles from our digital archive of contemporary independent publications and protest materials Publishing the Present: An Archive of Mutual Care and Action, among others.
Our new space will provide more room for study and gathering, including:
- More shelving to make available our full library collection
- Comfortable seating, individual library carrels, and collective/personal study, research, and reading areas
- New accessibility services, including an audiobook recording station
Since our founding, our membership has transformed from a small group of involved participants to a robust, tiered program offering multiple ways for our community to be involved and engaged in everything we do. Membership has grown over 200% in the past year!
In return for ongoing support, members receive various perks, such as key access to the reading and writing space, free spots in writing workshops, subscriptions to our publication series, editorial consultations, free merchandise, custom library shelves, and more.
Our new space will allow our continually growing membership program more opportunities to expand as a horizontal, community resource, for example building more ADA accessible infrastructure and hosting more mutual aid programs.
Ultimately, we imagine our space as an open invitation for commoning, for gathering around a shared study and love of art and literature. We are excited for this change, and cannot wait to welcome you to our new home this fall.